One year ago today I was in Los Angeles, bunkered up in the guest bedroom of my apartment, hunched over my computer maniacally redesigning my website, trying to finish ahead of the release date of my debut EP All We Are. I was panicked and stressed, ignoring my loved ones, and unsuccessfully fighting off the feeling that everything was about to go wrong. In short, I was a mess.
I’ve come a long way in the past year. I discussed a lot of that in a previous article on Huffington Post, “What To Do When Your Life Get’s Flipped Turned Upside Down.” But there’s more to say. In that moment I was feeling let down and betrayed by the label that had dropped me, and I’d lost faith in my advisors’ ability to guide the next phase of my career. We had decided to release the record independently, and I didn’t like the way the rollout was going. But I was biting my tongue and rolling with it out of a backward sense of obligation — A feeling that I owed my team the chance to see the release through, because they had stood by me through all my BS with my label. But in truth, I didn’t trust them anymore, so I was second guessing them at every turn, and being a huge pain in the ass. Every fiber in my body was telling me that this was going to fail and that I needed to hit pause, reassess the situation and reboot the record launch. But I ignored that feeling and kept things rolling, convincing myself that if I just worked hard enough everything would turn out fine.
So there I was, working 20 hours a day obsessing over unimportant shit, thinking I could overpower a bad situation through hard work and force of will. But I wasn’t being real. You can lie to yourself about a problem, ignore it, try to work around it, whatever you want. But it won’t work. You’ve got to trust your feelings and you can’t be afraid to act on them and change up whatever it is that’s bugging you until it feels right.
I know because I’ve ignored my instincts before. Like the time I got married. Leading up to the wedding I knew deep down that we weren’t ready. And this wasn’t cold feet stuff, it was bigger. There were fundamental flaws in our relationship that we were just leaving unresolved — we would have a big fight and then sweep it under the rug. So I wasn’t feeling great about the wedding, and neither was my fianceé (now ex-wife). She was having mini-breakdowns about all the decisions that needed to be made around the wedding, and in those moments expressing deep uncertainty about our future together. And her uncertainty only fed my internal uncertainty. She would say things like “maybe we should just cancel the wedding,” or suggest we push it back, but instead of saying what I felt (“yes, you are right”), I felt like I had to be strong. So I would just reassure her and tell her it would be fine, even though it was clearly going to be anything but.